Tips for Educators

If you’re an educator who’s new to River of Words, welcome! Here are some tips for getting the most out of your association with us.
  • Read our Watershed Explorer curriculum and Educator’s Guide. It contains lots of background material on watershed science and how to teach poetry to children. You’ll also find a bibliography and resource guide, as well as classroom and field activities designed to help children explore their communities and their imaginations.
  • Visit our Regional Coordinators page to see where your state or region has a River of Words Coordinator. If so, contact him or her for ideas and information.
  • If you are school-based, encourage your fellow teachers to be involved in River of Words. Collaborations between science, language arts, social studies, and art teachers have produced wonderful poems and paintings and led to community-service projects like creek clean-ups and school gardens.
  • Review the River of Words Contest Rules for information about how to enter, artwork size, poem length, etc.
  • Check out our resources for educators.
  • Need additional resources? Call local water or park districts, museums, conservation, and arts organizations. They’re often generous about sharing their naturalists, poets, artists, videos, and maps, etc.
  • Build community partnerships by involving parents, service groups, local businesses, the media, and other community resources in your River of Words projects. Such partnerships are not essential, but giving students’ work and concerns a wider audience can engage them more fully in the process.
  • Get outdoors—even if it’s only the schoolyard! Join your students in field activities that encourage observation, data recording, sketching, and listening. Repeated visits to the same site allow students to observe changes. Many teachers incorporate a “service learning” component in their ROW projects, like water quality monitoring, tree planting, gardening, or creek clean-up.